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Thread: Anybody want to read a statement of purpose (Jazzman version)?

  1. #1

    Anybody want to read a statement of purpose (Jazzman version)?

    This is what I have so far on a statement of purpose for UNC-Chapel Hill. I did not see anything anywhere about a word count limit, but the general rule of thumb for other schools seems to be 500 words, so I tried my best to stick to that. This ended up being 543 words, after a LOT of editing. So here goes -




    My interest in the urban planning began in my teenage years. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, an old, industrial city founded on the steelmaking and railroad industries which has seen better days. As a native of the city I always wanted to understand why Birmingham did not experience the same prosperity as other booming southern cities Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and the like. These questions steered me down the path of becoming interested in the development and planning of cities, leading me to the decision to pursue planning as my major course of study while at Alabama A&M University. During the course of my undergraduate studies, I received a solid education on the fundamentals of the field; however, I would like to build upon that knowledge by pursuing graduate level education and studying in-depth concepts within the broader field of planning that I only acquired a cursory knowledge of at the undergraduate level. Though I struggled with my studies in the beginning of my undergraduate career due to lack of maturity and ability to responsibly juggle a part-time job, extracurricular activies, and my studies, I later progressed academically, earning better grades in the latter part of my tenure at Alabama A&M.

    I am most interested in land use and growth management issues, as well as transportation planning. More specifically, I'd like to study ways in which these two subfields of study can be molded together to create a plan for a city and/or metropolitan area that conserves resources and maximizes the use of existing infrastructure. Such a plan would address glaring equity issues that manifest themselves in problems such as the urban/suburban transportation mismatch so common in U.S cities that makes inner-city residents unable to pursue suburban job opportunities due to a lack of a solid public transit system. Another consequence of unsustainable planning which I'd like to help mitigate and alleviate during the course of my career in planning is the negative environmental impact of unsustainable growth the destruction of greenfields and the subsequent wasting of taxpayer dollars and local resources on infrastructure spending, and the chipping away of the available land that could be used for conservation and recreation purposes. In short, I'd like to do my part to help make cities and communities as equitable, sustainable, and resourceful as possible.

    I believe that furthering my studies in classes such as Urban Form and the Design of Cities (taught by Dr. Thomas Campanella) and Transportation Policy (taught by Dr. Daniel Rodriguez) would help provide me the education I need in order to help develop the best possible plans to achieve my goal of making cities as equitable, sustainable, and resourceful as possible. I am excited about the prospects of taking classes such as these that will undoubtedly build upon the basics of urban design and policy-making that I learned at the undergraduate level.

    In short, after a deliberate review of the course offerings at the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina and a subsequent visit during the department's Open House sessions in early November, I am convinced that DCRP will offer me the tools I need and the opportunities I am seeking in graduate level studies in the field of urban planning.

    Basically my goal here was as such: first, give a little background infromation as to what got me interested in planning in the first place, second, provide an explaination for my subpar cumulative GPA (2.83) and three, be very specific about my research interests in planning, while also getting into the specifics about which classes tickle my fancy, and lastly, be just as specific and detailed enough about said research interests to convince them that despite my low GPA, I do know my stuff as far as planning is concerned.

    First of all, do you all think that my aforementioned goals are what I should be going for in a personal statement, and second of all, what do you think about the statement itself? I'd love to hear any feedback, including some from fellow applicants/students.

  2. #2
    Hey, per their instructions, just make sure that it doesn't go over 2 pages single spaced. The more selective schools seem to be okay with longer entries. So, you can fill it out more if you'd like.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by warderjack View post
    Hey, per their instructions, just make sure that it doesn't go over 2 pages single spaced. The more selective schools seem to be okay with longer entries. So, you can fill it out more if you'd like.

    OK cool, this is about a page and a half double spaced.

  4. #4
    Be sure that that statement document and the resume have uploaded properly prior to submitting your app. A little while after uploading, there should be a new button that you can click on to View them.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by warderjack View post
    Be sure that that statement document and the resume have uploaded properly prior to submitting your app. A little while after uploading, there should be a new button that you can click on to View them.


    OK. Just went through all 13 pages, I see I kind of screwed up. I was on the admissions page and saw a link to a PDF for "Letters of Recommendation" and immediately printed it out and handed it to my 3 letter writers. Now I see here that they want the e-mail addresses of the 3 letter writers so they can send the forms. But I've already made arrangements to send the 3 letters off by regular mail. They may not get to Chapel Hill by the December 15th deadline. Wonder if that'll be a problem?

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